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December/January 2010

d rea o t Flip Kinney Mc ids K zine a g Ma

Benefits of Dark Chocolate Snoring and Sleep Apnea PRSRT STD U.S.POSTAGE PAID McKinney,TX Permit No 146

Residential Customer McKinney, TX

Business Resolutions for 2010 On the Cover

René Teague Osuna

René’s Lagniappe Salon


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McKinney Woman Contents December/January 2010 8

14

18

20

On the Cover René Teague Osune

René’s Lagniappe Salon

Cover Photo by:

Wendolin Mercado Photography www.wendolin.com

Cover Clothes offered by: Cynthia Elliot Boutique

Jacket by Yolanta $335.00 Necklace $60 Earrings $15

Features

6 Cover Story René Teague Osuna

René’s Lagniappe Salon

8 New Year Resolution For A Successful Business 10 Eat Healthy This Winter

Departments

Publisher/Editor: Vanessa Ximenez

publisher@northtexasmagazines.com

14 Your Snoring May Be Harming More Than Your Marriage 18 Top 7 Cost Effective Home Improvement Tips 20 Helping Distant Caregivers

12 The Divine Line: Life Moves Pretty Fast

Art Director: Marlina Rahman

marlina@northtexasmagazines.com

Contributing Writers: Heather Arbuckle Dr. Marvin Berlin Linda Cress Dowdy Joshua Ferris Sarita Haines Lisa M. Petsche Sunil Sharma

For advertising information contact our office at 972-547-6261 www.northtexasmagazines.com

McKinney Woman Magazine is a product of North Texas Magazines, Inc.

Copyright 2009, exclusive of proprietary ads and artwork designs. All rights reserved. No portion may be reproduced in whole or in part by any means without prior written permission from the publisher. Placement of advertising is not a personal endorsement by the publisher or its representatives, and no liability arising therefrom is assumed.


M WM

Editor’s

Note

Welcome to the first flip issue of McKinney Kids and McKinney Woman Magazines. In an effort to bring our readers more information with more variety, we have combined our magazines. We will continue to publish the magazine bi-monthly and are very excited about these changes. In an effort to keep the magazine fresh and insightful, we encourage your thoughts and contributions. From submitting a picture of your candid kid to nominating that very special woman to grace our cover, please visit us at northtexasmagazines.com. This issue also celebrates the 40th issue of McKinney Kids Magazine in its 7th year of publication. We are thankful to all of our readers who have supported us through the years and invite new readers to join the club, literally!!! You can become a fan of both magazines on facebook to receive the latest updates on events and specials. Join us in this celebration of new beginnings for 2010! Sincerely,

Vanessa Ximenez s.com

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On the cover

René Teague Osuna Rene’s Lagniappe Salon The word lagniappe means “a little something extra.” And when you visit René’s Lagniappe Salon, you definitely get something extra, something more than just beauty that is skin deep. You get the idea of inspiration, motivation and everything it takes to be a truly successful woman. René’s journey to success epitomizes the following quote:

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful”. - Herman Cain Her story begins when she was just a little girl and remembers feeling that she was the kid with the ugly hair. “My mother didn’t know how to work with thin, fine hair, so she always kept my hair short and in a frizzy perm,” said René. This was the beginning of her fascination with hair and the beauty salon. René recalls, “I would watch the stylist fix my mother’s hair and then I would go home and try it on my own friends.” Before long, René became the stylist to all her family and friends. While

New York and in 2009 passed the Redken Color Certification exam

many of her friends went off to college, René’s dream was to do

which is the most difficult certification test in the industry. René

hair. This was the start of a truly inspirational success story that

received her training and certification for Pureology Artistic Educa-

has inspired many women to follow their dreams and never give

tor in Chicago. Her philosophy stresses continuing education. “I am

up on the desires of her heart. René not only took steps to make

constantly enhancing my knowledge and skills,” she says.

her own situation better, but she has graciously shared her skills for the benefit of all women.

René’ oversees a mentoring program for licensed cosmetologists to help them improve their skill level and self esteem. In addition,

For more than 30 years now, René has been bringing out the

she consults busy stylists and nail technicians to help them increase

beauty in women. She and her husband Michael are the owners

their revenue without increasing their hours. René also donates her

of René’s Lagniappe Salon. René’s extensive experience and

time to teach at the Cosmetology Schools.

training includes: studying skincare in Paris, France; hair replacement in California; and make-up application in Dallas and San

In addition to all her qualifications, René serves her community by

Antonio, Texas. She has also studied at the Redken Exchange in

donating her time and talents to those who are staying at the local

 mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010

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homeless shelter, The Samaritan Inn, by offering free haircuts

of the Women’s Alliance of McKinney. She also serves on the

and services. She also provides free haircuts to the underprivi-

board of The Chestnut Square in McKinney and the Collin County

leged students at McKinney ISD and is currently working with

Event Professionals.

Boyd High School in an effort to environmentally go green at her salon.

René’s inspiration comes from her mother who always reminded her, “You can do anything you want to do in life. You just have

One of her most important programs is the New Image Room that

to do it!” She also said, “If it is worth doing at all, it is worth doing

she has designed in her salon for cancer patients. René feels

right, so don’t start something if you aren’t going to finish it.”

that half of the battle with this disease is mental and emotional.

René expresses that it doesn’t take much to keep her motivated

“I have watched people I care about lose the will to fight when

and inspired in her career because she loves what she is doing

they lose their hair or when the time comes to shave their heads.

and feels it is so much more than just a job.

This room is a private area for them to try on wigs and to give them a new hope. Every time a woman leaves the New Image

René’s advice to other women is, “Remember to take care of

Room with a smile on her face, I feel like I am helping her find the

you. If you take the time to look good, everyone wins because

strength to begin on the road to recovery.”

when you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you have the motivation to be a better wife, mother, and woman

René is certified by the American Cancer Society for the Look

in general.”

Good, Feel Better Program. This program provides free wigs and cosmetics to cancer patients to boost their self esteem.

René also suggests, “When reaching for your dreams, surround yourself with other successful women because there is strength

René’s additional affiliations include induction into the Manches-

in numbers. Only you can set yourself up for success and don’t

ter Who’s Who Executive and Professional Registry, a member of

be discouraged if you feel like you are starting at the bottom. The

the American Cancer Society, National Cosmetology Association,

bottom is where you will build your strong foundation to support

President of the Texas Association of Beauty Professionals, a

you as you build your dreams.”

M WM

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mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010 


New Years Resolutions for

By Linda Cress Dowdy

a Successful Business The year ahead is certain to be a challenging one for all businesses but with a bit of well thought out planning and a positive approach, success is potentially possible for all. Here are several New Years Resolutions that are sure to contribute to that success.

I will build relationships. In tough times it is hu-

man nature to cling to those people and things that can be trusted. Resolve to build and strengthen your business relationships. Make customer service your point of distinction. Stay in touch with your clients and customers, build loyalty, strengthen your business relationships with your vendors and suppliers and remember to value your employees.

I will focus on my business goals. Now is not the

time to put your business on auto-pilot. Focus on the needs that will move your business forward. Effect change when it is called for and do not dwell on that which is out of your control. Keep short range and long range goals in clear perspective. Delegate if necessary. Work smart without distractions. Refocus as necessary but don’t lose sight of your ultimate goals.

I will listen more. Many new ideas are at first dismissed.

When looking for ways to maintain and grow your business, listen to the ideas and suggestions of others. Listen to your business partners, customers, and especially your employees. Many great ideas are born internally by those who know your business best. Solicit others for input on how to improve business from the inside out and outside in and listen to those suggestions.

I will learn. There is always something more to be learned. Teach yourself a new skill. Join a committee or organization to learn how they do business. Form a network for social or business learning opportunities. Learn from others how they conduct business and ask for help when you have a problem with yours. Share ideas and learn from the mistakes and successes of others.

I will be a leader. To be competitive in this business

climate you need to be a leader and not a follower. Innovation will drive business opportunities. Keep current by researching your competition, paying attention to trends and keeping an open mind. Utilize the internet for instant feedback and note hot topics like environmental awareness, health and the economy. Be creative by leading rather than by just reacting.

 mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010

I will be receptive to change. Just because something

has always worked in the past does not insure that it will continue to do so in the future. Take a close look at your processes and procedures and be willing to change the way things are done in order to make them better. Change is scary and often difficult to manage but can be exciting if handled correctly. Energize enthusiasm for your business by accepting and leading the movement for changes that offer improvement.

I will ask for help. Seek opportunities to grow your

business during these tough times. Now is not the time to be timid. Ask for customer referrals. Ask your employees to share ideas for improvement. Ask for business by marketing and promoting your product or services. Ask for help from your vendors as they are trying to keep their business strong as well. The old saying, “it never hurts to ask” is true more now than ever before! None of the above suggestions are new and I’m sure you’ve heard them over and over again. The key though is to remember them and follow through with your resolutions throughout the year. Keep your list ready and review it regularly throughout the coming year. Resolutions are easily forgotten but those that are focused on usually result in success. One final resolution should be to review and adhere to those resolutions made in January. Remember to thank those that help you along the way by sending business thank you referral cards, business appreciation cards and general thank you cards. Here’s to a promising and profitable 2010!

M WM

Linda Cress Dowdy is an avid greeting card enthusiast and professional author, editor and copywriter. For a great selection of custom imprinted and personalized greeting cards and photo cards for all occasions, visit www.CardsDirect.com. Article source: www.articlesbase.com

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mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010 


Tips for Eating Healthy

By Sunil Sharma

This Winter

It’s easy to eat right during the summer months with an abundance of fresh produce available from a wide variety of sources. But as winter rolls around, those juicy ears of corn are just a memory. That doesn’t mean, however, that you drop your healthy eating habits with the dropping temperatures. You still need to get your five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Make an effort to include fruits and vegetables at every meal. Since your options are more limited during the winter months, now’s the time to get creative by trying new recipes as well as sampling produce you haven’t eaten before. Winter brings a bumper crop of root vegetables like turnips, rutabagas and parsnips; squash; Brussels sprouts; and more. Apples and pumpkins are the foundation of a variety of comforting, homey desserts. Here are some tips to help you chase away the winter chill by adding the flavors and healthy benefits of winter produce. As always, the key to buying the best produce is to know what you’re looking for. No matter what the season, look for fruits and vegetables with good color; stay away from produce with bruising, blemishes, soft spots or shriveling. For additional help in selecting produce, especially items you haven’t tried before, visit www.aboutproduce.com. This easy-to-use Web site features an “A to Z” guide to produce that includes useful information on the peak season for any given item, nutrition information and selection tips. You can also “ask the experts” if you have a question that isn’t answered on the site. Best of all, the site includes hundreds of recipes that show you how to put the produce to work on the dinner table. From asparagus to zucchini and everything in between, you’ll find it all here. Here are two delicious recipes sure to warm you up this winter:

Pesto Minestrone

This full-flavored soup is also full of healthy vegetables. • 2 cups cauliflower (2 small heads), coarsely chopped • 1 1/2 cups zucchini (1-2 medium), chopped • 3 cans (14.5 ounces) chicken broth, reduced sodium • 1 16-ounce can tomatoes, diced, drained • 1 cup elbow macaroni or small pasta shells • 3 cups kidney beans or black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (1 cup dry makes 3 cups cooked) or 2 cans (15 ounces each) • 1 cup carrot (1 medium), sliced

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• • • • • •

1 cup onion (1 medium), chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil (for pesto) 2 garlic cloves (for pesto) 1 cup basil leaves, fresh, loosely packed OR (for pesto) 1 cup Italian parsley plus 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves (for pesto) 1 tablespoon water

Directions: In a 5 to 6 quart saucepan bring to boil 1/2 cup water, tomatoes, cauliflower, onion and carrots; reduce heat and simmer covered 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add zucchini, beans, broth and pasta. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Meanwhile put all pesto ingredients in food processor or blender and process until very finely chopped. Just before serving, remove soup from heat and stir in pesto. Makes 8 servings.

Golden Apple Oatmeal

Start your day off right with a steaming bowl of this hearty (and heart healthy) oatmeal. • 1/2 cup Golden Delicious apples diced • 1/3 cup apple juice • 1/3 cup water • 1/8 teaspoon salt • Dash of cinnamon • Dash of nutmeg • 1/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats, uncooked Directions: Combine apples, apple juice, water and seasoning; bring to a boil. Stir in rolled oats; cook 1 minute. Cover and let stand several minutes before serving. Makes a 1-cup serving. M WM AS For more Free Resources www.dishadvice.com.

Article source: www.articlesbase.com

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mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010 11


M WM

The Divine Line

Life Moves

By Heather Arbuckle

Pretty Fast May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. - Romans 15:5-6 NIV

One of my favorite movies is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. If you grew up in the 80’s like me, you probably recall the wisdom of our young hero Ferris as he addressed his audience... “Life Moves Pretty Fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!” Indeed, life seems to be spinning faster these days. Some mornings, I fear we are moving so frantically, the earth may spin right off its axis. It seems a sense of urgency has gripped our world as never before, and in its wake we sometimes feel the necessity to be innovative in our communication methods. Twitter. Facebook. Texting. No doubt, our modes of communication are changing radically. I confess, up until recently, I was a selfproclaimed Facebook junkie. It was exciting to reconnect with long lost “friends”, convenient to keep up with current acquaintances, and fun to entertain my “peeps” online. However, life isn’t just about entertainment and convenience. Life is far more complicated, and tends to get messy. Therefore, our relationships with fellow believers must be deeper than a Facebook update or a “tweet” on Twitter. Communication is a priority in God’s Kingdom. God has used angels, prophets, the Bible,and His one and only Son to communicate His desires for His children. Likewise, it must be a priority for God’s people to “communicate the hope that is in us” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV) Effective communication begins with time alone with God. It is imperative as God’s children that we learn to sit at His feet and quietly listen each day. As we read His word and meditate on His truth, our minds are renewed and our hearts transformed to be more like Christ. It is only then that we are truly ready to engage a lost and confused world. For it is in communion with our Heavenly Father that we train our heart to encourage and endure.

12 mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010

Likewise, we are challenged to make time to meet with our sisters in Christ face to face. After all, communication is more than words and emoticons. Expressions and tones can be lost in the translation of a text message, leaving us confused about the motives and actions of our loved ones. Without the clarity of open communication, we are likely to be deceived into making assumptions that damage a relationship unnecessarily. In short, we must allow ourselves to be available to those whom God has placed in our circle of influence. God has placed a number of folks in our midst today. Some are there so that they might be influenced. And some are placed there to be an influence. Either way, influence is greatly marginalized when we limit our interactions to social networking. Today, let’s commit to talk more...really talk. Accountability and honesty must remain in a free transaction between active participants if we are to truly continue to grow in Christ. We must commit to make ourselves vulnerable with trusted sisters in Christ, who can speak truth with love into our lives when the time is deemed necessary. Otherwise, we are likely to be deceived by our enemy who “prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV) Let us never become so busy that we forget to check on a friend. And I pray we never become so distracted that we fail to speak loving truth into our friendships. As our methods of communication evolve, we are challenged in this fast-paced world to speak wisely, not in haste but in love. Let’s not miss the chance to minister with words of truth and love. M WM Heather Arbuckle is a freelance writer who lives in McKinney, TX with her husband Marty and her three beautiful children Jack, Lily and Sofie. www.northtexasmagazines.com


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Spinal examination for new patients ($150 Value) Includes: Complete spinal analysis - to ensure your good health Motion tests - to see why you have trouble moving Muscle tests - to see why you’re stiff Neurological and orthopedic exams to detect nerve or disc damage Private consultation with the doctor to make your options clear

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By Marvin W. Berlin, DDS | mckinneydentist.com

Your snoring may be harming more than

your marriage!

Snoring isn’t something to make fun of or ignore. Those loud gurgling noises we make at night could be the beginning of a serious problem called Sleep Apnea … sleep apnea can be deadly if not treated.

mune system strength, insulin levels, and so on. It is also the stage

Snoring occurs when the air you are trying to breath is vibrating

irregularities, periodontal disease, clench or grind your teeth, head-

off the tissue located in the back of your throat. The tissue may

aches, have trouble focusing or remembering, or depression, your

be swollen or your lower jaw may be falling backwards when you

problems may be coming from a lack of quality sleep.

where you process data into memory. REM is when your body processes emotions. When you stop breathing at night you don’t get to go through these stages properly. If you snore and have gained excess weight or can’t lose weight, have diabetes, heart problems, constant sinus problems, menstrual

are sleeping causing your tongue to block the air. To determine if you have Sleep Apnea you first need to be evaluWhat starts as annoying snoring with some of the air being

ated by a dentist or doctor that has experience treating Sleep Apnea

blocked can progress to Sleep Apnea where ALL of the air is

and Snoring. Your dentist/doctor will then order you or provide you

blocked. When you stop breathing for ten seconds you have had

a sleep study.

an Apnea Event. If you stop breathing more than 5 times per hour you have Sleep Apnea. Some patients stop breathing over

The treatment of Sleep Apnea will vary depending on how severe

100 times per hour. The bottom line is that snoring is not just

your throat is blocked. The simplest treatment that can be very

keeping your spouse awake, but more importantly, preventing

effective is a dental mouth piece that keeps your jaw from falling

your body from getting oxygen and thus damaging to your body

backwards. If your throat is too closed the tissue in your throat can

without you even knowing it.

be trimmed with a laser. A third option is to use an air pump called a CPAP to force air into your lungs.

M WM

When you stop breathing while you sleep it changes how your body rests. When we sleep we go through four stages over and over during the night. The stages are N1, N2, N3, and REM. N1 and N2 are when your body rests. N3 is when your body regulates the hormones that control the health of your body. These

Dr. Marvin W. Berlin is a family dentist who has been treating patients here in McKinney since 1994. He has worked with many types of mouth splints and currently only recommends the SomnoDent appliance. www.somnodent.com. For additional information visit www.mckinneydentist.com or call (972) 547-6453.

hormones regulate weight loss and gain, cholesterol levels, im-

14 mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010

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mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010 15


By Sarita Haines

Dark Chocolate Benefits

Your Health

There are significant health benefits to dark chocolate. According to research studies, chocolate provides clues to fighting disease. Your health and well-being can be enhanced while you savor and enjoy chocolate. Below, you’ll see how research involving chocolate consumption can help conditions such as high cholesterol, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Chocolate and Cancer

The same antioxidants found in wine and green tea are found in raw cacao and dark chocolate. Antioxidants protect cells from toxins, slow the growth of cancer cells, and help reduce cancer risks and heart disease. The greater the amount of cacao contained in chocolate, the more antioxidants it has. (Note: White chocolate does not contain antioxidants, so look for dark chocolate instead).

Chocolate and Cholesterol

While many foods high in saturated fats are known to raise cholesterol levels, studies have shown that chocolate consumption does not. This is due to the type of saturated fat chocolate

contains. Less harmful saturated fat in one’s diet means plaque that can gather in the arteries. In fact, studies have shown that dark chocolate may in fact boost good cholesterol.

Chocolate and Depression

The fat naturally found in chocolate helps provide a feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction, releasing mood-enhancing endorphins. Chocolate also may help relieve symptoms of anxiety. It is thought to have an opiate effect that may help improve mood. A study conducted on patients who were depressed showed that the dark chocolate provided relief from their symptoms.

Chocolate and Circulation

Since the chemicals in dark chocolate help prevent the formation blood platelets, the chance of blood clots is minimized. In addition, blood pressure may be lowered with a regular consumption of dark chocolate each day. This is a result of the flavonoids present in cacao that help with circulation. Keep in mind that flavonoids are lower in milk chocolate than dark chocolate.

How Much Chocolate Can You Have?

Include 1 ounce of dark chocolate per day to your diet. Select your chocolate carefully, ensuring that there are no refined sugars or hydrogenated oils, which have undesirable health effects. Also, look for a high percentage of cacao (70% or above). Remember that chocolate does have calories, so make necessary modifications to your calorie intake. Article source: www.articlesbase.com

16 mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010

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mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010 17


Top 7 Cost Effective

By Sandra By Joshua Gordon Ferris

Home Improvement Tips Home improvement can be a tricky subject because it can either require a home equity line of credit just to finish one job or it can be done on a shoestring budget and still look great. Assuming you are pushing for the latter of the two and want to get the most home improvement for every dollar put in here are seven great (cost effective) home improvement tips that are sure to increase the value of your home when you put it up for sale.

Fiber Cement Siding - Fiber cement siding is becoming

one of the most popular alternatives to vinyl siding because it inherits all of the attractive features of wood siding with none of the flaws. For example, fiber cement siding is low maintenance, fire and termite resistant and holds paint color for seven to fifteen years.

Add a Wood or Composite Deck - Wood decks

Finish Your Basement - Similar to an attic project,

tend to generate a better return on investment than composite decking but you can expect wood to be higher maintenance so it’s worth weighing your options on maintenance versus initial price. Either way, adding a deck to your home will give you additional square footage outside of your home and increase the value of your home among potential home buyers.

basements also span the width of most of your home and offer up a tremendous amount of space to use. If you have a basement with at least seven feet of floor to ceiling height you should be able to turn the dusty, underused part of your home into a recreation room or guest suite. Every town varies on how extensive they will allow a basement renovation become so check with your local town officials and get the proper permits before starting.

New Vinyl Windows - If you have an older home one

Add Landscaping - Landscaping is super simple and an

of the most promising home improvements is in your windows. Replace drafty or aging windows with vinyl windows which are cost effective, look great and are low maintenance.

Minor Kitchen Remodel - Sometimes a home improvement project doesn’t need to be a full scale military project. Updating your kitchen can be as simple as replacing the countertops with a more modern surface like granite, changing cabinets with a moderately priced new set and upgrading your appliances to newer and typically more quiet stainless steel appliances.

Attic to Bedroom Conversion - Wasted space such

as an attic can be a great way to expand your home’s livable space without having to build beyond the home’s original footprint. One of the most popular ways to convert an attic to living space is by turning it into a bedroom or master suite with bathroom and walk-in closets.

18 mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010

inexpensive way to increase your home’s curb appeal dramatically. Although you can go crazy with landscaping your home will benefit most from a walkway to the front door complete with plantings on both sides, fencing in the back yard and plantings that run the length of the driveway. Home improvement is an exciting journey that will exercise your creative freedom and, with good planning, won’t cost you an arm and a leg to do. Using the list above as a guide you can improve many key parts of your home that will give you a marked increase in your home’s value the day you put your home on the market. M WM Joshua Ferris is an associate real estate broker in Orange County NY and specializes in both Monroe New York and Newburgh New York real estate. Be sure to visit Josh’s Monroe New York real estate guide and Orange County NY Real Estate website. Article source: www.articlesbase.com

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By Lisa M. Petsche

Helping Distant

Caregivers

If you have a frail parent who lives in a different area and is cared for by a relative, such as your other parent or a sibling, you may feel guilty that you can’t be there to share the load. But even though you’re not available to give hands-on assistance on a regular basis, you can still help the primary caregiver with meeting your parent’s needs. Some ideas for how to do this are included below. Practical help If your parent has a chronic illness, gather information to help the caregiver - and the rest of your family - understand the disease and get an idea of what to expect for the future. Research and share information about available resources in your parent’s community, which might include: visiting library service, meals on wheels, friendly visiting, volunteer driver programs, accessible transportation, recreational programs and home healthcare services. Also gather information about services that help caregivers - such as support groups (some may offer concurrent care), day care programs and nursing facilities that offer short-term residential care - and encourage the caregiver to take advantage of them. Information can be obtained from the local Area Agency on Aging. (To find the appropriate office, call the Administration on Aging’s toll-free Eldercare Locator Service at 1-800-677-1116 or search online at www.eldercare.gov/.) Give the caregiver a subscription to a caregiving magazine, or clip and send articles about caregiving that contain practical information (behavior management or self-care strategies, for example). Give the caregiver a gift membership in a caregivers’ organization or the non-profit organization associated with your parent’s health condition (for example, the Alzheimer’s Association or Parkinson Foundation). Membership benefits usually include a newsletter and access to other valuable resources. Organize a telephone call-out chain so important information about your parent’s health status and needs can be shared among family members in a timely fashion. Offer to come and stay with your parent so the caregiver can take a vacation. Ask what kind of help the caregiver could use the most. Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to cover or at least contribute towards the cost of one or more of the following potential needs: medical equipment, such as a bath bench or a walker or wheelchair; home adaptations; a house cleaning service; yard

20 mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010

maintenance service; specialized transportation; respite care, such as a personal support worker or companion, a day care program or residential respite; or a vacation for the caregiver (anything from a weekend away at a bed and breakfast to a flight overseas to visit relatives or friends).

Emotional support Arrange a regular time to call. Shop around for a good long-distance savings plan so you don’t have to concern yourself with the length of conversations. With each contact, ask not only how your parent is doing, but also how the caregiver is coping. Don’t forget to express appreciation for all that the caregiver does for your parent. Encourage the caregiver to call you (collect if necessary) with any concerns. Make it easy for him or her to get in touch with you. Get an answering machine if you don’t already have one or, better yet, a cell phone. E-mail may also be advantageous. Listen to the caregiver without judgment and don’t give unsolicited advice. Provide encouragement. Send a card or note to brighten the caregiver’s day. Include a humorous anecdote or cartoon clipping. Periodically surprise the caregiver with a treat, such as a movie, a music CD by a favorite artist, fresh flowers, a basket of specialty foods, toiletries or other pamper items, or a gift certificate to a restaurant that has delivery service. Encourage the caregiver to accept offers of help and to ask for assistance when needed. Support the caregiver if he or she decides to transfer your parent into residential care. The decision is a very personal and difficult one, and often is followed by feelings of guilt. Trust that the caregiver has done his or her best and has exhausted other options, and do whatever you can to help with the transition. Plan a visit to assist the caregiver with touring facilities and narrowing choices, or to help your parent settle into the new residence. M WM Lisa M. Petsche is a social worker and a freelance writer specializing in health and family matters. www.northtexasmagazines.com


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mckinneykidsmagazine December/January 2010 21

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